Free Birds – Rediscovering ‘The Cranes are Flying’ (Russia 1957 – 94 mins)

Rediscover ‐ September 30, 2018

A must-see movie for romantics who don’t mind subtitles, the beautifully moving drama ‘The Cranes are Flying’ remains one of Russia’s best-loved films, and is perhaps my own personal favourite to come out of the Soviet Union.

It’s Moscow during World War II, and young lovers Boris (Alexei Batalov) and his fiancée Veronika (Tatiana Samoilova) are parted when Boris enlists after Germany attacks Russia. When her parents are killed during an air-raid, her fiancé’s family give Veronika shelter in their home, where she is raped by Boris’ cousin Mark. Feeling guilt and having never heard from her fiancé since he left, …

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“He couldn’t help himself” – Rediscovering ‘Welcome to Arrow Beach’ (US 1974 – 85 mins)

Rediscover ‐ September 16, 2018

Though not a great film, I’ve always rather enjoyed Laurence Harvey’s final movie ‘Welcome to Arrow Beach’, a creepy little chiller with a cannibal twist. It’s not very well made and the editing is choppy, but it has a degree of atmosphere and seriousness about it that has endeared it to a small crowd of genre buffs over the last few decades.

After a near fatal traffic accident, hippie hitch-hiker Robbin Stanley (Meg Foster) decides to take shelter in the beachfront home of Korean War veteran Jason Henry (Laurence Harvey) and his sister Grace (Joanna Pettet). Unbeknownst to Robbin, Jason is …

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Class Conflict – Rediscovering ‘Tunes of Glory’ (UK 1960 – 107 mins)

Rediscover ‐ September 16, 2018

“Good evening gentlemen, my name is Barrow”. And so begins one of the greatest personal clashes in cinema history. The verbal sparring between Alec Guinness’s popular party-loving Major, and John Mills’ by-the-book Lieutenant, is a joy to watch in what I think is one of the unsung classics of British cinema.

In the aftermath of World War II, a Highland Regiment’s acting Colonel; Major Jock Sinclair (Alec Guinness) is furious to learn that he is to be replaced by Lt. Col. Basil Barrow (John Mills) an authoritarian who didn’t rise up from the ranks. Jock Sinclair soon begins a psychological crusade …

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Sweet Phyllis – Remembering Phyllis Davis (1940 – 2013)

Remember ‐ June 17, 2018

With a smile as big as her personality, beautiful Phyllis Davis was one of those Seventies starlets who appeared regularly on screen for nearly 30 years. Though more familiar on television than in film, she nethertheless starred in some pretty good cult movies and a couple of very popular exploitation pieces.

Born Phyllis Ann Davis, in Texas on July 17th 1940, the former airline stewardess got her cinematic break with bit parts in the bizarre but funny ‘Lord Love a Duck’ and the Elvis Presley vehicle ‘Spinout’ (both ’66). After minor roles in another Presley flick ‘Live a Little, Love a …

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Happy Anniversary – Rediscovering ‘Two for the Road’ (US 1967 – 112 mins)

Rediscover ‐ April 22, 2018

1967 was a groundbreaking year in American cinema. It ushered in a new wave of violence in movies. Superb films such as ‘Bonnie and Clyde’, ‘The Dirty Dozen’ and ‘In Cold Blood’ all resonated with both critics and the public. But one little movie that year that has since become a favourite for many, is Stanley Donen’s wonderful romantic comedy-drama ‘Two for the Road’.

Whilst travelling through the South of France, Architect Mark (Albert Finney) and his wife Joanna (Audrey Hepburn) look back at their 12 rocky years of marriage. Through frequent flashbacks of their many trips throughout Europe, we witness …

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Outbreak – Rediscovering ‘80,000 Suspects’ (UK 1963 – 113 mins)

Rediscover ‐ March 18, 2018

A minor British drama that’s part medical procedure and part disaster movie; Val Guest’s ‘80,000 Suspects’ is a decent entry in hospital dramas that benefits from a terrific cast and intelligent script.

One New Year’s Eve in the Southwest of England, Dr Stephen Monks (Richard Johnson) discovers a smallpox infection which causes the city of Bath to be put under quarantine. At the same time, Monks marriage to ex-nurse Julie (Claire Bloom) is falling apart following an affair, but becomes even more tested when Julie contracts the virus. Further strain is put on the couple when the disease is traced back …

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The Man Who Fell To Earth – Rediscovering ‘Prey’ (UK 1977 – 85 mins)

Rediscover ‐ February 24, 2018

A pretty good slice of British horror, Norman J Warren’s low-budget Sci-fi ‘Prey’ is a fun exploitation piece, and a neat twist on the oft-used theme of the welcoming couple letting a stranger into their home… with deadly results.

Upon landing on Earth, a sharp-fanged alien (Barry Stokes) kills and takes over the identity of a local man before intruding on a young lesbian couple (Sally Faulkner & Glory Annen) living deep in the English countryside. Although distant and aloof it’s not long before one of the women takes a shine to their mysterious visitor, causing friction in the couples already …

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Crime Stories – Remembering Darlanne Fluegel (1953 – 2017)

Remember ‐ January 12, 2018

For a while it seemed that cult beauty Darlanne Fluegel’s star would surely rise, and even though she went on to have an interesting film and television career, she would never quite reach the heady heights that some critics were hoping for. Still, in her many male-dominated movies, she more than managed to hold her own, battling both sadistic cops and villains in a handful of 1980’s action films.

Born in Pasadena, California, on November 25th 1953, Darlanne Fluegel carved out a successful career as a fashion model before retiring at 25 to pursue a serious acting career. Making her debut …

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Don’t Go In The Attic – Rediscovering ‘Silent Scream’ (US 1979 – 87 mins)

Rediscover ‐ January 07, 2018

Unfairly lumped in with the early slasher films, Denny Harris’ late 70’s horror ‘Silent Scream’ is actually a pretty good thriller that doesn’t dwell on gory murders, but more on the psychological aspect of the story. Slasher fans will feel cheated, but I’ve always enjoyed the look of the movie and especially the tense atmosphere that permeates throughout the film.

After moving into the beachfront boarding house run by the mysterious Mrs Engels (Yvonne De Carlo), pretty student Scotty Parker (Rebecca Balding) soon finds herself caught up in a series of brutal murders. When the police uncover some long hidden …

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Snowbound – Rediscovering ‘You’ll Like My Mother’ (US 1972 – 92 mins)

Rediscover ‐ December 04, 2017

It must feel immensely unnerving to be an isolated outsider in an isolated environment. That’s how heavily pregnant Patty Duke’s character must have felt, after arriving on the doorstep of her dead husband’s unwelcoming family, in the forgotten 1972 thriller ‘You’ll Like My Mother’.

After her husband is killed in Vietnam, heavily pregnant Francesca Kinsolving decides to pay a surprise visit to his family in a remote part of Minnesota. When her mother-in-law (Rosemary Murphy) tells Francesca she wants nothing to do with her or her unborn baby, Francesca makes for a quick exit, only to be held up by a …

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